The years 1993 - 2003
Jeanne and I were getting restless and decided to leave New York. Jeanne actually never cared for the place after living in Paris, and I wasn’t having any luck connecting with another gallery. The ad business was also changing, although I had plenty of work in New York and was also getting assignments out of Chicago and Detroit. It just seemed as if we had hit a dead end in the fine arts area. We decided to move back to Michigan, in an area midway between Detroit and Chicago where we had our family. Sawyer is a small town located about twelve miles from the Indiana border and is near the town of New Buffalo. I hooked up with a rep in Chicago, Bob Fischer, an old friend from Detroit, who was able to dig up plenty of work for me. I also started to do a lot of work for McCann Erickson and Doner Advertising out of Detroit. Doner would actually call me in for a week or two at a time to render up ad comps and storyboards for their client meetings. Somehow I even managed to get assignments from ad agencies in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I still had several clients in New York that used my services on a regular basis. Things were going well in the commercial business and I also managed to get a couple of galleries to represent my fine art paintings and prints.
I had no intention of buying a computer and how I happened to get involved with it is unusual. I used to send all of my New York assignments in packages by FedEx when I finished them. One day a package arrived late and another one was lost. My clients were furious and I had to do one of the jobs over very quickly. The other client actually cut my fee by $700 for being late, which I thought was pretty severe. One client told me I’d better get a computer if I wanted any more work. With the computer I would be able to send the finished work to my client over the internet. I quickly got a computer and everything was fine after that, no more lost packages. One day when I had some down time I began to experiment with the computer and was astonished at what could be done with this new medium. I’ve been hooked ever since. I have tried to render storyboards on the computer, but it takes me twice as long as it normally takes. I suppose that I just need a little more practice. I do many fine art projects and comic book cover parodies on the computer; it’s a fascinating new medium with great possibilities.
The years 2004 - Present
Since I quit doing storyboards I have kept very busy painting, sculpting and doing many experiments on the computer. As a lover of exploring and experimenting I find the computer to be an amazing medium. Also one can produce limited edition prints, posters and other self-promotion material on the computer. For my latest series of paintings, I first do a variety of color sketches on the computer, evaluate them, and then use one of the images as a basis for a new painting. It’s a terrific way to create interesting and different images.
I am a frustrated comic book artist, my high school art teacher, Margaret Stein, luckily steered me into advertising and fine art, but I have always been fascinated by comics and comic books.
My most recent digital work, Comic Book Cover Parodies. Both series will probably eventually be in book form.
I have been working on a series of new abstract figure paintings for the last year. These paintings are actually based on color sketches done on the computer. It is a totally new concept for how I work. I do several color sketches on the computer, then pick out the most interesting concept and use it to develop a large acrylic painting.
This concludes Harry Borgman’s biography and career retrospective. The final piece to this series will be on Monday when Harry walks us through his illustration process. A segment you certainly will not want to miss.